Converted church boosts £1m Purbeck house market

There’s a chance to buy a piece of ecclesiastical history at Langton Matravers for Easter as a former Wesleyan church swells the record number of million pound properties up for sale in Purbeck.

Wesley House, a converted Victorian chapel, is on sale for offers in excess of £1 million with Swanage estate agent Oliver Miles, who believes that a special micro climate will protect the Purbeck housing market through spring 2023.

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Views from Wesley House over the Purbeck countryside
OLIVER MILES

Views from Wesley House over the Purbeck countryside

Housing micro climate protects Purbeck

Although Dorset Council’s decision whether or not to charge double council tax on those with second homes may still affect the market, Swanage estate agents are already seeing an upturn in the number of viewings.

Chartered surveyor Oliver Miles said:

“The market is reasonably buoyant still, and with spring and summer ahead of us, should stay that way.

“Prices have dipped but not significantly; as they rose 10 to 12 percent last year, a little fall back of one or two percent still leaves us in a strong position.

“We have a housing micro climate here in Purbeck which protects the area, and to a large extent it relies on retired people and second homers.

“There’s a vote on double council tax for second home owners in Dorset at the end of March which may have some effect, but surprisingly for the last fortnight in February and the first week in March 2023, there have been a lot more market appraisals and viewings.”

The main body of the former Victorian chapel is now a drawing room gallery
OLIVER MILES

The main body of the Victorian chapel is now a drawing room gallery

Never seen so many properties priced at £1 million

Oliver continued:

“I have been in this business a long time and have never seen so many properties in Purbeck priced at over £1 million, even going back to the height of prices in 2021 there weren’t many at that range, but now if you look at Rightmove, there’s a lot at a million or more.

“The market forecast is not as pessimistic as a lot of the pundits are saying. It’s not a roaring market, but there is reasonable activity. People are still wanting to move away from London and work remotely.

“A Victorian or Edwardian terraced house in many parts of London will sell for £1.2 or £1.3 million and the owners can come down here and get a lovely detached property for that price.

“The main problem is that there are far too many flats in Swanage, conversions of former big houses into flats. It’s a shame, as only about a quarter of them are occupied by Swanage residents, the rest go to second home owners and that’s not good for the town.”

Wesley House is an impressive feature of Langton Matravers’ high street
OLIVER MILES

Wesley House is an impressive feature of Langton Matravers’ high street

The original chapel stained glass windows and Victorian notice board are features of the home
OLIVER MILES

The original stained glass windows and Victorian notice board are features of the home

Stained glass windows and a 30-foot gallery

Wesley House in the High Street in Langton Matravers, is one of two dozen Purbeck homes on sale for £1 million or more as of Sunday 12th March 2023, but also one of the more unusual, with a lot of local history attached to it.

It is a converted and extended Wesleyan church originally built in 1875 and still retains many of its original features, including stained glass windows and a 30-foot gallery which is now a drawing room.

The five bedroom home was last put on the market 30 years ago, shortly after a modern extension was added to the building, and it now features a formal dining room with French doors to the courtyard garden.

There are three bathrooms, a classic half turn staircase and a galleried hallway on the first floor, as well as a modern kitchen, a large workshop and a second floor studio space.

The chapel has white climbing roses above its original entrance doors which open into the workshop, as well as the original pillared wall with an iron gate and steps up to the church.

The bedrooms have scenic views over the Purbeck countryside
OLIVER MILES

Bedrooms at Wesley House have scenic views over the Purbeck countryside

The main bathroom uses natural light through the stained glass window
OLIVER MILES

The main bathroom uses natural light through the stained glass window

Langton’s first Wesleyan Chapel dates to 1842

Langton Matravers’ first Wesleyan Chapel was built in the cottage style in 1842, about a century after John Wesley founded the earliest Methodist societies in Bristol, and its date-stone has been built into the wall of Wesley House.

After it was demolished, a second Methodist Chapel in the village was built on a larger scale and in a more church-like style in 1875, which now forms part of Wesley House.

A small Baptist Chapel was also built in the village in 1831, but has since been converted into a cottage in the High Street, while a tiny independent Chapel existed in a former butcher’s shop between 1898 and 1910, but this is now part of Seacombe Cottage.

Langton Matravers itself is a hugely popular location for house hunters, sitting just two miles from Swanage and an equal distance from clifftop walks along the Jurassic Coast from Dancing Ledge.

The dining room has French doors out to the courtyard garden
OLIVER MILES

The dining room has French doors out to the courtyard garden

The Wesley House courtyard garden is a perfect place for entertaining guests
OLIVER MILES

The courtyard garden is a perfect place for entertaining guests

“Area is a mecca for those escaping city life”

Oliver Miles said:

“Wesley House is just waiting for the right person – it’s a magnificent house and will be the right property for someone. It is a large property to manage, but for a large family looking for an outstanding location it is just right.

“No one who has seen the house can criticise it – it is just a little large for some people, and some families might not like living on a main road location, though most of the living space is at the back of the property, which faces south and has lovely views.

“It is easy to see the attraction – Langton Matravers has a village hall, pub with a deli, local museum, church and primary school, and is on the bus route between Swanage and Poole.

“It is just a short drive to the scenic village of Worth Matravers with its award winning village pub the Square and Compass, and also close to historic Corfe Castle – the area is rightly a mecca for those escaping city life.”

A light and spacious art studio fills the second floor of the former church
OLIVER MILES

A light and spacious art studio fills the second floor of the former church

Further information

  • More photos and details of Wesley House are on Oliver Miles’ website:

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